By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – The Liberal election campaign is back on track Thursday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered once again what appeared to be a heartfelt apology for wearing brownface and blackface on three different occasions.
He also discounted any idea that he would step aside and let someone else head the party in the days leading up to the Oct. 21 federal election.
“I will continue to do the work that is necessary,” Trudeau said in response to a reporter’s question about whether he should resign.
But Trudeau also acknowledged he must regain the trust of marginalized Canadians who face discrimination daily because of skin colour, background and religion.
“What I did … hurt people,” he said during a news conference Winnipeg.
A picture from 2001 shows Trudeau in brownface as Aladdin in a gala themed “Arabian Nights” when he was a drama teacher in Vancouver.
Another picture of Trudeau revealed him in blackface at a talent contest in high school.
A video that surfaced Thursday also had Trudeau in blackface in the early 1990s.
“Darkening your face regardless of the context or the circumstances is always unacceptable,” Trudeau said.
The images hit like a bombshell on the campaign trail. Trudeau put his campaign on hold Thursday as he scrambled to deal with the fallout.
When he faced reporters later in the day, he said his entire political life has been dedicated to the ideas of diversity and he has done his best to combat racism.
In a particularly poignant moment, Trudeau said he had difficulty explaining to his three young children why wearing blackface was wrong.
Trudeau said he has been and hopes he will continue to be an “ally “ of those who face discrimination.
Only time will tell if the blackface debacle will cost Trudeau on Election Day.